Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has wrapped filming and if the fact the first movie was actually quite good didn't get us excited enough, one brilliant piece of casting sure has.
It was confirmed back in August that Idris Elba would be voicing iconic Sonic character Knuckles in the sequel. We're still waiting to hear if Tails will have a similarly starry name behind the fox, but we can't wait to see what Elba does with the role.
Compared to the rough journey to the big screen for the first movie, the sequel has had a smooth ride. Filming wrapped in late July and, as far as we know, everything is on track for it to speed into cinemas in April 2022.
The official title for the sequel was revealed in February 2021 as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (who saw that coming?). Like the video game of the same name, it'll give Tails a bigger role after the credits scene brought the beloved character into the movie universe.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has the same creative team – director Jeff Fowler and writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller – as the first, but what else do we know about the return of the speedy hedgehog?
Here's everything you need to know about Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 release date: When will Sonic the Hedgehog 2 be released?
It's been confirmed that the sequel will arrive in cinemas on April 8, 2022 in the UK and US, barring any delays.
Fowler announced the start of production officially on March 16, 2021, before announcing that filming had wrapped in Vancouver on May 13, 2021.
"That's a wrap in Vancouver! Thank you to all the amazing cast/crew in this city... so much incredible talent helping make #SonicMovie2 truly special (and spoiler alert... EPIC!)," he wrote.
And then filming wrapped in Hawaii on June 25, 2021, which appears to be the end of filming for the sequel, although there will still be some extensive VFX work done to add Sonic and co into the world.
Fingers crossed though, it seems everything is on track for that April 2022 release.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cast: Who's coming back for Sonic the Hedgehog 2?
Ben Schwartz is back as the voice of Sonic and he's joined by James Marsden as Tom and Tika Sumpter as Maddie, as well as Jim Carrey as Dr Robotnik.
The credits scene in the first movie had Colleen O'Shaughnessey voice Tails, as she currently does in the wider Sonic world. Whether she's reprised her role for the sequel or if it's been recast for Tails' bigger role in the sequel remains to be seen.
We do now know that the sequel will also feature Knuckles who will be voiced by none other than Idris Elba in a brilliant piece of casting.
It had been previously reported that the sequel would bring in Knuckles after co-writer Pat Casey had teased that the sequel could feature Knuckles after the Echidna tribe were seen at the start of the first movie.
"Knuckles is an Echidna so I would guess they're related in some way, but what exactly that relationship is… We'll have to see how things develop. But the Echidna tribe was definitely not chosen at random," he told Fandom.
Elsewhere, we could see returns from supporting characters like Lee Majdoub's long-suffering government agent Stone and Frank C Turner as Crazy Carl, who turns out to be not so crazy in his sightings of Sonic, AKA "the blue devil".
Sonic the Hedgehog ending: How does it set up Sonic the Hedgehog 2?
After unwittingly putting himself in the sights of Dr Robotnik, Sonic has to use his rings to escape to another world.
There's only one problem, though. He dropped them when he was surprised by Tom (James Marsden) who discovered Sonic hiding in his shed, and one of the rings opened a portal to San Francisco which they all fell through.
Tom agrees to help Sonic recover the rings and the pair go on a road trip to San Francisco, avoiding Dr Robotnik and his drone army along the way. Dr Robotnik wants to capture Sonic to use his "extraordinary" power in his drones.
It all builds to a final confrontation between Sonic and Dr Robotnik. Using the power from one of Sonic's quills, Dr Robotnik chases Sonic all over the world thanks to the portals generated by the rings.
They end up back in Green Hills and just when it seems that Dr Robotnik has defeated Sonic, Tom steps in to protect his friend.
Sonic recovers, supercharges and, using one of his rings to open a portal to a mushroom planet, manages to destroy Dr Robotnik's ship and push him through the portal before it closes.
Sonic moves in with Tom and his wife Maddie (Tika Sumpter) and the US government decides to let Sonic live in peace, erasing any existence of their work with Dr Robotnik.
The first credits sequence catches up with Dr Robotnik on the mushroom planet, 87 days later and sporting a look more in line with the video games. (Weirdly, it's a scene that was shown in one of the trailers.)
He's still got Sonic's quill and promises to be "home by Christmas", despite the fact his only friend is a rock and he has no resources or supplies.
For fans though, the real treat comes in the second sequence that takes us back to Green Hills. A ring portal opens and none other than Tails jumps out of it, having seemingly tracked Sonic there.
"If these readings are accurate, he's here. I found him. I just hope I'm not too late," he says, before he flies off to presumably meet Sonic.
So a sequel will likely see Sonic and Tails reunite to battle whatever it is that Tails fears he might be too late for. Did they know each other in the past? The sequel could well flashback to their childhoods to fill in their backstory.
And of course, Dr Robotnik will find his way back to Green Hills to cause more mischief, giving the sequel the perfect opportunity to introduce the Chaos Emeralds which can be used to teleport (among many other powers).
We actually got our first plot synopsis from an unlikely source as Paramount submitted a patent to the US Copyright Office that contained what appears to be a confirmed story outline.
"After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is ready for more freedom, and Tom and Maddie agree to leave him home while they go on vacation," it reads.
"But, no sooner are they gone, when Dr Robotnik comes back, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to both build and destroy civilisations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands."
The synopsis hasn't been officially confirmed by Paramount, so take it with a pinch of salt for now, but it appears fairly legitimate.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 trailer: When will Sonic the Hedgehog 2 trailer be online?
Filming has wrapped, but we imagine it'll still be a while for the first footage to land due to the effects work that's needed for the likes of Sonic, Tails and co.
Hopefully we'll see something before the end of the year, but it might be early 2022.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is set for release on April 8, 2022.
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